Movie Reviews

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) – Film & Wine Club

mr-and-mrs-smith-movie-reviewDirector: Doug Liman

Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Runtime: 120 Minutes

Main Cast: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Keith David, Chris Weitz, Rachael Huntley, Michelle Monaghan, Stephanie March

Plot: John (Brad Pitt) and Jane Smith (Angelina Jolie) have been happily married for five (or six!) years, but they’re now stuck in a rut. It’s remarkable they made it that far, as unbeknownst to each other, they’re both spies, working for rival organisations. It all comes crashing down on them when they both become each other’s next target.

My Thoughts: So we realised that I have a particular type of movie at our last Film & Wine Club, and this time we learnt that my Mum does too! Her two picks so far have been True Lies and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Clearly, she loves spy movies where the spies lie to their spouses about their profession! Now I’m wondering if she might be a spy… Anyway, I was excited to see her next pick because I’ve heard it’s a fun movie and I’ve actually seen very little of Angelina Jolie’s work!

It was every bit as fun as I hoped it would be. You obviously have to go in with an open mind, I couldn’t hide a chocolate bar from my husband, let alone a secret life as a spy, but if you’re up for a bit of silliness there’s a lot to enjoy! Whilst I’ll always hold a grudge on behalf of Jennifer Aniston, it’s impossible to deny the chemistry between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie here. I mean, my goodness, I need to open a window just thinking about them together! That might be the UK heatwave though, come to think of it.

One of my favourite little details was the teams behind the Smiths. Jane works alongside an all-female team and they have a stunning building to work in, with plush furnishings and a neat and calm atmosphere. Whereas John and his boys barely look dressed at the best of times and work from one of the most run-down rooms I’ve ever seen. The banter is so much fun, too. It felt a little bit too long for me but it’s definitely something I would watch again.

mr-and-mrs-smith-brad-pitt-angelina-jolie

Best Bit: There are some great moments where I really thought for a moment one of them might have actually killed the other, but the fight scene at their house is by far the best scene in the whole movie, I think most people who have seen this would agree. Although I bet dominatrix Angelina Jolie would be a close second!

Worst Bit: I use this phrase too much, but if I put my critic hat on I’d say the movie works best when it isn’t fulfilling the plot. It needs one of course but some of the story just feels forced and it’s just a lot more fun to see spies in action!

Fun Trivia: After the Smiths discover each other’s identities, Jane speeds away in the car and John runs after her. He ends up tripping and crashing through a fence, and his gun goes off. The trip was a mistake, and Brad Pitt’s reaction, as well as his following ad-lib, “Oh dear God!”, were genuine.

My Rating: 3 and a half broken glasses to use whilst raising a toast to a happy marriage.

mr-and-mrs-smith-broken-glass-fight

Book Reviews · Movie Reviews

Memoirs of a Geisha: Book Vs Movie

Let me start by briefly explaining how I came to read Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden. I was talking about books with a work colleague – and we asked each other what our all-time favourite book is. Hers was Memoirs of a Geisha, which she said was an odd choice because she would never in a million years have picked it out of a book store herself. It was a random gift years ago from a friend of hers, and she’s since read it cover to cover many times. I didn’t give the book another thought until it was one of Amazon’s 99p Kindle Book deals of the day – but gave it a chance to see if it really could be that good.

It’s taken me 3 weeks to read, not because I haven’t had the interest. I couldn’t fill a post-it note with what I know about Geisha so there’s so much content and so many words that are unfamiliar to me, my reading pace was as slow as it’s ever been. With any other book, it would have been enough to make me give up, but I was completely absorbed in the life of this incredible character, and I was gutted when I finished it – which is what led me to watch the movie.

memoirs-of-a-geisha-by-arthur-golden

Little Chiyo and her older sister are sold by their Father after their Mother falls gravely ill. Chiyo’s beautiful grey eyes land her a place at an Okiyo, a Geisha house, but her sister is much less fortunate and ends up in the prostitute district. Working as a maid whilst also hoping to become a Geisha, Chiyo suffers many a misfortune and almost loses it all, until a chance meeting with a man known only as the Chairman turns her luck around. Over the years, Chiyo becomes one of the most famous and respected Geisha in Gion.

Maybe it’s because I was taking extra care when reading, but I loved the style of writing when it came to describing not only Gion but everything to do with the life of a Geisha such as their hair, kimonos, and how they entertain at teahouses. It’s a beautiful, yet sad life, and it was fascinating to learn more about it.

The ending of the book was particularly powerful, and what made me decide that I wanted to watch the movie. I wasn’t ready to leave that world behind me quite yet, so it seemed like the best thing I could do. We all know that the movie is rarely better than the book, and that’s the case here too, but it’s a very good adaptation at least. I’m planning on doing an actual review this weekend but for now, let me share a few thoughts.

memoirs-of-a-geisha-nobu-sayuri-chiyo

One thing I enjoy when watching a movie adaptation of a book I’ve read is seeing if my vision of how characters and locations look match the movie. In most cases they did – although the character Nobu looked nothing at all like I pictured him. Also, the Geisha Hatsumomo is such a hateful character that although she’s described in the book as being beautiful I struggled to picture her so – but the casting choice was perfect and made her character feel all the more dangerous.

Apart from one scene that was vastly different from the book, everything else was very much the same, albeit with a lot of the story cut out. That’s my main complaint about the movie, but I know it can’t be helped. The movie is already 2 and a half hours long, but with so much of Chiyo’s/Sayuri’s relationship with Nobu cut out the romance arc and the eventual ending didn’t have the same impact on me.

That said, it’s a fantastic movie that is definitely worth watching if you haven’t already. What I recommend more, however, is the book!